With the popularity, collectibility, and - let’s face it - addictibility of the Pokémon franchise, the specter of micro-transactions for special critters and bonuses seems to loom more menacingly as mobile gaming grows.
But according to Pokémon art director Ken Sugimori in a 4Gamer interview translated and summarised by Siliconera, paying real-world money to unlock certain Pokémon is something that has often not been seen as complementing the intended feel of the series:
The reason being is because it’s one of things that could "ruin the worldview" of Pokémon. I believe the reason we don’t simply commercialise is that it’s a way of protecting the brand, and for this purpose, we have the specialty company called The Pokémon Company. Therefore, suppose we sell a Pokémon for 100 yen, then we must prepare something that is worthy of that 100 yen, along with a reasonable consent for doing so.
4Gamer noted that Pokémon have been given away at certain paid events such as theater showings, creating a sort of micro-transaction in itself. Sugimori said that in such a case, there was more context with the giveaway, with a Pokémon just featured in a movie coming to viewers’ systems:
It’s not that we only want to distribute [Pokémon], but we want to give our customers a taste of a new experience. Whatever we do, we make sure it fits the worldview, and make sure it remains consistent. Those are some of the parts we place a great amount of importance into.
Sugimori did not fully dismiss the idea of paying directly for some Pokémon in the future, however:
If we ever get the idea of, “This could be fun if we could sell it for real-life money,” or something similar during the planning of a future game, then perhaps we could sell them for 100 yen.
Do you think we will ever see pay-to-catch Pokémon? Does such a concept appealing in any way? Let us know in the comments.